Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Maps of miscanthus genome offer insight into grass evolution

Date:
May 15, 2012
Source:
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Summary:
Miscanthus grasses are used in gardens, burned for heat and energy, and converted into liquid fuels. They also belong to a prominent grass family that includes corn, sorghum and sugarcane. Two new, independently produced chromosome maps of Miscanthus sinensis (an ornamental that likely is a parent of Miscanthus giganteus, a biofuels crop) are a first step toward sequencing the M. sinensis genome. The studies reveal how a new plant species with distinctive traits can arise as a result of chromosome duplications and fusions.

University of Illinois crop sciences professor and Energy Biosciences Institute program leader Stephen Moose and his colleagues mapped the Miscanthus sinensis genome, a first step toward a full genome sequence.
Credit: L. Brian Stauffer

Miscanthus grasses are used in gardens, burned for heat and energy, and converted into liquid fuels. They also belong to a prominent grass family that includes corn, sorghum and sugarcane. Two new, independently produced chromosome maps of Miscanthus sinensis (an ornamental that likely is a parent of Miscanthus giganteus, a biofuels crop) are a first step toward sequencing the M. sinensis genome. The studies reveal how a new plant species with distinctive traits can arise as a result of chromosome duplications and fusions.

The two studies were published this year: The first, led by the energy crop company Ceres, appeared in the journal PLoS ONE; the second, from a team led by researchers at the University of Illinois, is in the journal BMC Genomics. The data, materials, methods and genetic markers used in the latter study are available to the public for further research.

Before this work, scientists knew that M. sinensis had a base set of 19 chromosomes and was closely related to sorghum, which has a base set of 10. (Humans have a base set of 23). But without a map and sequence of the Miscanthus genome, researchers who hope to maximize yields or discover which genes give Miscanthus its desirable traits are working in the dark, said Stephen Moose, a University of Illinois crop sciences professor and Energy Biosciences Institute program leader, who led the BMC Genomics study.

Moose and his colleagues used information gleaned from the sugarcane genome to develop hundreds of genetic markers to target specific regions of the M. sinensis genome. Then they crossed two M. sinensis plants and grew 221 offspring in a laboratory. By comparing how the genetic markers from each parent were sorted in the offspring, the team reconstructed 19 "linkage groups" corresponding to the 19 chromosomes of Miscanthus. This rough map of the chromosomes is a first step toward a Miscanthus genome, Moose said.

The researchers also used the sorghum genome as a comparative reference. Their analysis indicated that M. sinensis arose as a result of a duplication of the sorghum genome, with a later fusion of some chromosome parts.

"Some plants will duplicate their genomes and then there's some sorting that goes on," Moose said. "Sometimes whole chromosomes are lost and sometimes there are fusions." Once there are two copies of each chromosome in a base set, each will proceed along its own evolutionary trajectory. "Often what will happen is even though there are two (versions of the same chromosome), one of them will start to deteriorate over time," Moose said. "Some positions and some genes will win out over the others."

Genome duplications may undermine the viability of a plant or give it an advantage. One immediate advantage of doubling, tripling or otherwise duplicating the genome is that it increases the size of the plant, or of certain plant parts, Moose said.

"Humans have selected for these traits," he said. "Strawberries, for example, are octoploids; they have eight chromosome sets. Sugarcane has eight sets, and it's bigger (than its wild cousins)."

Moose and his colleagues were surprised to find a high degree of similarity between the Miscanthus and sorghum genomes.

"I would say that for about 90 percent of the Miscanthus markers, their chromosomal order corresponds to what is known for sorghum," he said.

The new findings and the eventual publication of the Miscanthus genome will help scientists understand the evolution of grasses and the genetic mechanisms that give them their desirable traits, Moose said.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Kankshita Swaminathan, Won B Chae, Therese Mitros, Kranthi Varala, Liang Xie, Adam Barling, Katarzyna Glowacka, Megan Hall, Stanislaw Jezowski, Ray Ming, Matthew E Hudson, John A Juvik, Daniel S Rokhsar, Stephen P Moose. A framework genetic map for Miscanthus sinensis from RNAseq-based markers shows recent tetraploidy. BMC Genomics, 2012; 13 (1): 142 DOI: 10.1186/1471-2164-13-142

Cite This Page:

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. "Maps of miscanthus genome offer insight into grass evolution." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 May 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120515104741.htm>.
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. (2012, May 15). Maps of miscanthus genome offer insight into grass evolution. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120515104741.htm
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. "Maps of miscanthus genome offer insight into grass evolution." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120515104741.htm (accessed April 23, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India

Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India

AP (Apr. 22, 2014) A leopard caused panic in the city of Chandrapur on Monday when it sprung from the roof of a house and charged at rescue workers. (April 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Iowa College Finds Beauty in Bulldogs

Iowa College Finds Beauty in Bulldogs

AP (Apr. 22, 2014) Drake University hosts 35th annual Beautiful Bulldog Contest. (April 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
805-Pound Shark Caught Off The Coast Of Florida

805-Pound Shark Caught Off The Coast Of Florida

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) One Florida fisherman caught a 805-pound shark off the coast of Florida earlier this month. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Breakfast Foods Are Getting Pricier

Breakfast Foods Are Getting Pricier

AP (Apr. 21, 2014) Breakfast is now being served with a side of sticker shock. The cost of morning staples like bacon, coffee and orange juice is on the rise because of global supply problems. (April 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins